An old drug with new tricks? Victoza, a well known drug for diabetes management, may show benefit as a weight loss medication. With over 1/3 of American adults being obese, the new data could help loosen your belt!
New phase 3 clinical trials for Victoza showed a 5.9% weight loss among participants. Reports come from Novo Nordisk at a recent American Diabetes Association presentation in San Francisco. When the drug was originally approved for diabetes, studies showed weight loss of up to 8%. However, the original drug trials were not specifically designed to show weight loss and included many other factors such as co-therapy with metformin, which also contributes to weight loss. The new clinical trials may have the manufacturer novo-nordisk seeking an official indication for weight loss in the near future.
What about the specifics? The study included 3700 patients with an average age of 45 who were either obese or overweight. The patients either had a daily injection of Victoza or a placebo. The dose of the medication used was about 2 times the amount used for diabetes treatment. Overall, an average difference of 5.9% weight loss occurred in the Victoza group, with 1/3 of the patients losing more than 10% body weight . Although the study did not include diabetic patients, 61% of the patients were considered pre-diabetic. Gall bladder and pancreas side effects occurred in approximately 10% of participants treated with Victoza.
Were there lifestyle changes? All participants were closely monitored for caloric intake and exercise. All participants cut their calorie intake by 500 calories as well as walking for 30 minutes a day. Lifestyle changes are an important part to any weight loss program and was an appropriate measure in the study.
Overall, I see this study as another diabetic drug that aids in weight loss. A few other diabetic medications including metformin are well known for their initial weight loss benefits. In my opinion, there is no substitution to eating healthy and increasing daily exercise. However with obesity now being accepted, covered, and treated as a disease, Victoza may be a great addition to certain individuals.
Are you excited yet? As with any medication, be sure to refer to your primary care physician to discuss the risks and benefits of therapy. Little changes in your everyday diet and exercise habits can go a long way for weight loss!
Sources: WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20140529/diabetes-drug-may-spur-weight-loss-in-obese-nondiabetics), Novo nordisk (https://www.victozapro.com/clinical-benefits/weight-loss.html)